“To enjoy the glow of good health, you must exercise” – Gene Tunney
Gone are the days when doctors advised cancer patients to rest and stop any physical activity. Today, it has been scientifically proven that physical exercise helps reduce the risk of developing a cancer, but also in improving the efficiency of treatments.
Professor Bradley Behnke, a Physiology researcher at Kansas City University, studied the impact of physical exercise on tumours. Based on his studies, exercise increases the effectiveness of cancer treatments, such as Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy. The reason: increased oxygen flow in the body.
Tumours are found in low-oxygen zones, which can make them resistant to radiotherapy and more prone to metastasizing. Physical exercise increases the blood flow to the tumour, resulting in more oxygenation, and therefore, a better response to the treatments used.
Hypoxia, meaning the reduction in the amount of oxygen distributed by the blood to body tissues, is a common phenomenon for solid tumours (brain, lungs, breasts, prostate). If the tumour is hypoxic, the patient is diagnosed with a higher risk than those with non-hypoxic tumours. Physical exercise reduces Hypoxia by 50% and increases by 200% blood flow, based on a study published in the “Journal of the National Cancer Institute”.
The aim of Professor Bradly Behnke is to find the best timing for sports therapy. This means finding the right moment, duration and intensity of each exercise to optimise and not put in any danger a person diagnosed with cancer or going through treatment.
Taking up a physical activity needs to be done slowly, too much physical activity can affect the immune system and potentially worsen the tumour. Therefore, it is advised to participate in a supervised physical activity. Professional coaches trained in helping sick people, personalise sport programs to each person’s situation. Do not hesitate to speak with your Doctor or a Specialist so that they can adapt your physical activity to your medical situation.
In France, the National Cancer Plan 2014-2019 promotes physical activity: “Physical activity, during and after treatment, improves the quality of life and reduces fatigue. It can increase a person’s survival chances after Breast Cancer or Colorectal Cancer, whereas excess weight can increase the risk of a second cancer. The Cancer Plan promotes supervised and adapted physical activity, as well as health, adapted eating habits.”